I am riding along with my son in law and grandson most of the way to Disneyworld. It has been an eventful journey with a blown head gasket, an unexpected night in the Hilton Garden Inn, and a long daytime drive for which we had not planned. There have been wrecks on the interstate, long waits in traffic and lots of opportunities to grumble. And, day one of our vacation isn't even over yet. I keep telling my dear wife Helen, who is in the other car with six small grandchildren that life is an adventure...:-)

It would be easy enough to start complaining. It requires little training and only a small amount of self worship to do it. But, I have been distracted down here in the south by the shear unadulterated graciousness of the people of Georgia. At midnight we were marooned with a broken Honda Odyssey standing in the parking lot of a closed Honda dealership weighing our options. Hotel number 1 was full, but the Hilton had 2 rooms. And, so we camped out for the short night waiting to drag the Honda to repair. In the morning the night manager graciously gave us passes for breakfast with a smile. The waiter served us with the same kind of grace. It was almost as if God was daring us to be grumpy.

At the Honda dealership, the technicians were kind and told us they would need an hour to diagnose the problem. We sat in the waiting room with several other customers who just seemed intent on being pleasant while they talked with us and others instead of sitting in stony silence acting like there was no one else in the room. It just seemed like
people were just friendlier. The Honda dealer had bad news, but he smiled and said “would you like to talk to Enterprise?” Within 15minutes there was a supersized SUV in the parking lot with a smiling rental agent in a
suit and tie and within the hour we were back on the road.

I travel a fair amount these days and I can tell you that there are considerable differences in the way people act around our nation. I will not impugn anyone's region, but I will say, I would rather be smiled at, talked to kindly, and
treated with the grace I received from those dear people in Georgia.  I mentioned this to a friend who told me that it was all a veneer, and that just below their skin, these southerners were just as graceless as we are. I disagree, but even if it were true, I vote for the gracious veneer.

Good manners and kindness have been and will remain two of the things that separate us from savagery. I do not pretend to know the motives of the folks who were kind to us today, but I suspect it is mostly due to the fact that their mothers and grandmothers raised them well.  And we need more of that kind of behavior. It could also be true that many of those kind people I met were simply acting on the truth of scripture. Paul told us to  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Eph 4:31-1 NAU) Yes, our nation needs more of this! 
This week there have been unhappy mobs breaking windows, robbing stores, and beating innocent passersby. Before the weekend is over at least 10 people will have been shot on the south side of Chicago and several will die.
Somehow I think there is a connection here.  Maybe the whole mess that we are facing today could be helped, not fixed, but helped if we all choose the veneer. Or it could even be better if we chose to live like the Bible says and
treat each with kindness, gentleness and love. 
And, once again thank you to the kind people in Georgia! 

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